The Universal Oil Gas And Mining Company, The First Black Owned Oil Company In The United States

Written by Rewindingblack

The Universal Oil Gas and Mining Company was the first owned oil company in the United States. It was also the first oil company that was fully operated by an all-black staff. It was founded by Odessa S. Strickland and located on Texas Avenue in Shreveport, Louisiana. It got its start right at the start of Great Depression in 1930. This was surprising to most, due to the fact that most businesses were failing.  The Universal Oil, Gas and Mining Company owned oil wells and had oil production in locations as distant as Kentucky. The company also mined for zinc, lead, and silver.

On March 2nd, 1931, the company was granted charter under the laws of both Louisiana and Texas to do business.  5 years later in 1936, the company had gained taxable property and had assets valued at $260,000. By 1939 the company had acquired approximately nine oil wells and average oil production was in the area of 380 barrels per day. Universal also sold crude oil to companies such as Standard Oil Company of Louisiana. Crude oil was also sold to other refineries in locations such as Oklahoma and Texas.

Outside of producing and selling crude oil, as well as mining for minerals, the owner and founder of Universal Oil Gas and Mining was also an inventor.  Odessa Strickland had invented an instrument called the electronometer. This instrument was invented and used to discover sites that had oil deposits. The instrument discovered oil deposits by responding to the electrons that the oil deposits emitted.  This proved profitable to Strickland.  Strickland allowed the instrument to be used by individuals and companies for anywhere from $50.00 to $75.00 per day. The instrument proved nearly 100 percent accurate in finding oil drilling sites.  Out of 141 sites tested by the instrument, 139 had oil deposits

 Source: Historic Shreveport-Bossier City by By Marguerite R. Plummer, Gary D. Joiner


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